Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Hot Stuff

It may have escaped your attention but it’s been rather hot these past few weeks. And there’s hardly any air, so everything feels so still and heavy. You sweat like a pig just sitting and not moving.
“Do pigs really sweat?” Saffy wondered aloud during a recent observation about how hot it was.
I cocked my head. “What?”
Saffy’s bosom swelled gently. Even it could tell it was too hot to inflate to maximum capacity. “Well, people are always saying that they sweat like a pig. I’m just wondering if pigs really do sweat.”
            I blinked. In much the same way that I don’t normally think too hard about how my mail arrives in the letter box, I’d never given the matter of porcine sweat glands much thought. “Well, I guess they must do, otherwise, why would people say it?”
            “People say a lot of things, but that seldom means they know anything,” Saffy observed.
            Just then, the front door bell rang.
            “Oh, thank God,” Amanda said, struggling out of her chair. “Saved by Sharyn. Honestly, this conversation was starting to give me hives.
            “So rude!” Saffy murmured to me as Amanda opened the door.
Sharyn walked in, struggling with several bags of dinner that she’d da-bao’d from Old Airport Road. “Wah, so hot, can die, ah, I tell you!”
Behind her came Barney Chen, struggling with various plastic bags of drinks. “Girl, tell it!” he rumbled, his voice like boulders colliding under water.
Sharyn paused in unloading her packets of goodies to look at him. “Tell what?”
“Ignore him,” Amanda said. “Did you get the rojak?”
“Gawwwwt,” Sharyn drawled. “But must wait twenty minutes. But I get my girl to queue up for the char kway teow and my son, he buy the ohr luak, so not too bad, lah!”
“So where are they?” Saffy asked as she brought out plates and cutlery.
“Go home, lor! They not invited, mah!”
“Your children are going to grow up with issues, Shaz,” Saffy told her.
“Aiyah, orredi got so many issue, add some more, can, lah!”
“We were just talking about how hot it is,” I said, anxious that we return to the conversation.
Amanda sighed. “God, really?”
“We were also wondering if pigs really sweat!” Saffy said.
Barney frowned. “Why?”
“Well, Jason was saying that he sweats like a pig in this heat and then I wondered if that’s actually true. Do pigs sweat?”
“No, lah!” Sharyn said, scooping the rojak onto serving bowl. “The pig sweat gland, useless one! That’s why, hor, they must sit in mud to cool down!”
Amanda looked at Sharyn with admiration. “And you know this how?”
“I got A in biology, OK? I almost became a…what, ah….ventri-loh-kist!”
Saffy turned to me, her mouth already full with roti prata. “I’m telling you, the woman is an idiot savant!”
“Ay, you don’t anyhow call people stupid, can?”
            Saffy waved a hand. “I’ll send you the Google link!”
            Amanda looked dissatisfied. “So why do people say pigs sweat then?”
“Oh, I know that one,” Barney said. “But wait, lemme finish chewing.” The thick veins in his neck practically popped as he swallowed his mouthful of rojak. He smacked his lips. “It’s because when you melt iron ore, it becomes something called pig iron which you have to pour into these moulds that look like a bunch of piglets suckling the mother piggy. And as they cool, these moulds start to sweat.”
Sharyn literally put down her fork and clapped. “Wah, you so clever! How you know this?”
Barney Chen turned pink. “I dated this Australian once who worked with an iron ore company. Hot as hell, but terrible kisser, though! We broke up after two months.”
Later, after Sharyn and Barney had left, disappearing into the evening’s humid warmth and we were cleaning up, Amanda said it’s a shame that Barney spends so much time in the gym. “Imagine if he devotes the same amount of energy to something a bit more useful. He’d probably have discovered the cure for cancer by now.”
“I would be speaking fluent French if I didn’t watch so much TV,” I told her.
“You aim high. I’d be happy to just speak fluent Singlish!” Saffy said as she scrubbed a plate. She blew a wisp of hair out of her eyes. “But here’s the other thing I don’t understand. Why are kitchens in Singapore not air-conditioned? It’s so hot in here, right now! It’s ridiculous!”
“We should ask Barney the next time we see him,” Amanda said. “He’s probably dated a hot Argentinian architect once.”
Oui, voila!” I said.
Hannor!” Saffy said.

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